Pacific Northwest

June, 2008
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Diascia
One of my favorite plants is diascia because it asks for so little from me and gives so much in return. It should be in everyone's garden. For me, diascia blooms nonstop from May until frost. Individual flowers are small but amazingly abundant. Diascia isn't bothered by bugs or disease. In fact, I have found it to be relatively carefree. I can go away for a long weekend, and when I return the petunias in the window boxes look like death, but the diascia is blooming better than ever.

Diascia, of South African origin, is a member of the Scrophulariacea family, which also includes snapdragons and foxgloves. Diascia flowers range from deep reddish pink to very pale pink. My favorite is 'Salmon Supreme'.

Each small flower wobbles on a long, thin pedicle that holds it well away from the main flower stem. Each stem produces many of these singular flowers, literally covering the plant in a mass of pink. Diascia is a summer- and autumn-flowering annual or tender perennial in warm climates. Here in my Seattle-area garden, diascia is an annual.

I grow diascia in containers where it billows over the sides. I don't think it's suitable for borders because it has a somewhat lazy growth habit, but I think it is perfect for growing with other annuals and perennials where it can knit its way among the stems and foliage of more upright plants.

Clever Gardening Technique

Flowering Greeting Cards
I grow a garden full of flowering plants and have many requests for seeds. I fill those requests with a little twist. During the summer at the height of the blooming period, I take pictures of the many flowers in my garden. Then in the autumn when it is time to harvest the seed, I create a surprise for my friends and relatives.

I make cards out of attractive paper, and glue a photograph of one of the flowers from my garden with the name written beneath. I then wrap the seeds of that plant in a piece of tissue paper and include them inside the card. To finish it off, I write instructions for the care of the plant along with my personal message. I send each person enough seeds to plant a good-sized bed or border.

With scrapbooking such a popular hobby, there are tons of paper choices, and matching envelopes can usually be found in the same aisle of the store. The cards are fun to make and a delightful way to share the bounty of your garden.

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Special Report - Garden to Table

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